How many online shoppers will be willing to pay more for a product if it helps make up for the environmental impact of shipping it to them?This is an interesting idea. I had thought of doing something similar, but, when I looked into the environmental impact of shipping it seemed quite low (like 1¢ a book) and not worth the effort.
That's one question behind a new e-commerce site being developed by a group of Seattle Pacific University students. CarbonCart.com will offer products from the Amazon.com catalog at a premium, and then contribute a portion to projects designed to compensate for the pollutants emitted by the vehicles used in shipping.
The site will operate in connection with an Amazon.com program called "Drop Ship by Amazon," which effectively lets companies treat Amazon as a supplier -- offering products from the Amazon catalog on their own sites, and then having Amazon ship directly to their customers.
CarbonCart plans to charge a premium of 5 percent to 8 percent over the retail price of the product. A portion of that will fund the carbon offsets.
If they can get people to pay 5-8% more on a purchase, more power to them. I like the way they have it integrated with Amazon, it could easily be expanded to take into account the carbon footprint of the manufacturing of the product as well. Getting the data for the carbon footprint of manufacturing will be trickier though. I would guess that for most of Amazon's products a 5-8% price premium would handle the emissions of manufacturing as well, so maybe CarbonCart's pricing scheme makes sense after all.
via Seattle PI